NEW YORK - Relevant Sports today announced a spate of friendlies in the branded International Champions Cup (ICC). These games (according to the press release) are an "INNOVATIVE transformation of the traditional European club preseason tours into a competitive tournament".
While some would decry these games as a blatant cash grab and attempt at overt brand exposure in a burgeoning market, The Nutmeg News decided to reach out to the chairman and founder of Relevant Sports and the ICC.. TNN spoke with Stephen Ross in New York City.
TNN: "Tell us about Relevant Sports and the ICC"
Ross: "We positioned ourselves in the market to be the premier branding event and sporting competition in North America. There's more talent on the bench of Porto than in all the Major League Soccer teams combined. For North Americans, this is the chance to discover your roots, find out that you have a distant Manchester grandfather and don so much United gear that you disappear into a black hole of Morrissey lyrics yelling about the traitors of FC United of Manchester."
TNN: "Will the ticket prices be affordable to the average fan?"
Ross: "We have to position ourselves to ensure that our ticket prices are high in order to give the impression that this is a prestigious event."
TNN: "Some would accuse this tournament of being a blatant cash grab for pre-season European teams who have relatively disinterested players more interested in the nightlife than what's happening the field and coaches just trying to get people fit for the season ahead, what is your viewpoint on that?"
Ross: "There's no denying that."
TNN: "I'm sorry?"
Ross: "Well, that's what it is. I mean, we can put lipstick on a pig, but I think everyone knows that this is a way for international clubs to expand their branding, pick up new fans, sell a few more shirts, play in decent weather and try some young players. It's the American fans that crave the identity that associating with a European team brings. They are starved for it by a franchise system that exploits everyone. By comparison to how Major League Soccer is run, this is probably the most transparent event that happens every summer."
TNN: "Thanks for speaking with us."
Ross: "Thank you! And remember you can pick up tickets soon to the battle of the titans in New York City with Chelsea's B Squad versus the C Squad of Manchester United! It will be only $110 to watch an 18 year old Ukrainian who has no chance of making the main squad."